As a business manager at Softcom, Benjamin Dada spends most of his day overseeing product development, marketing, and client engagement of a business unit. During his free time, he’s also building his budding tech blog, benjamindada.com.
Dada talks about his career journey so far and how he’s juggling multiple projects while working from home.
- Current role: Business Manager, Softcom. Founder and Editor-at-Large, Benjamindada.com.
- Location: Lagos, Nigeria.
- Current computer: MacBook Pro.
- Current mobile device: Google Pixel 3.
- Describe what working in this pandemic is like, in one word: Different.
Tell us briefly how you started out your career and how you got where you are today
I can date my career all the way to 2014, as that was the year I had my first internship. Luckily, it was in a corporate organisation, one of the Big Four: KPMG. So, I quickly learnt the ropes of office speak, email etiquette, and what it took to be a consultant.
Every year since 2014 I’ve had one work experience or the other spanning; Softcom and Andela (2015), Stutern and Sky UK (2016), Google (2017), Eyowo and NYSC (2018), and Softcom from 2019 till date.
I think I got to where I am via privilege. The privilege of quality education and access to a network of professionals and entrepreneurs.
I did my undergraduate studies at Covenant University and then a master’s degree at Lancaster University, a top ten UK university.
Per network, I was able to get a SIWES placement (2015), via access to an alumnus of Covenant University who turned out to be Softcom Limited’s founder and CEO.
Once I was done with my MSc in 2018, Softcom’s CEO offered me the opportunity to interview for a role at his company and I’ve been there ever since.
In summary, I think being afforded an education, a network of career professionals and a supportive family have spurred me to this point.
Is this your first time fully working from home?
Walk us through a typical workday since you started working from home.
I wake up around 6:30 a.m. and browse the Internet before responding to WhatsApp messages and scrolling through Twitter notifications and DMs.
Then, as the time approaches 9 (my work resumption time), I go downstairs, open my laptop, and begin working from my dining table.
Oh, breakfast. So, I’d usually do that when I get downstairs. I’m a cereal junkie. Easy to prepare and I move on. By the time the other members of my family are ready for their own breakfast, it would be time for my brunch, so I join them to eat 🙂
Between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., work demands that I attend meetings, send slack messages to my product manager and liaisons from other departments working cross-functionally in my sub-division.
After 5 p.m., I get to review articles for my blog. I resume Twitter; giving commentary on everything except drama, politics, and the like. But see me when it’s time to talk about startups and tech news.
After 10 p.m., I go into a faux deep mode and become a philosopher. This happens naturally for me because things are calmer and I tend to introspect and catch up on other things.
I’d typically procrastinate a few things from all the work I have to do in the day. So, I try to sleep around 11 so that I can wake up at midnight with the utmost urgency and improved productivity. But guess what? I still wake up at 6:30 a.m.
P.S. – Things aren’t always as structured as this. I’m a human being, not a robot. LOL.
What apps, gadgets, or tools have you been relying on to work from home, and how do you use them?
Apps: YouTube, Google Play Music, PES 2020, Modern Warfare 5, Slack, Gmail, and Google Docs.
Gadgets: Laptop, phone, AirPods, Spectranet MiFi, MTN HyNetflex, and Keepwork WFH-300.
Having to work from home, how do you allocate time for work and other things?
Well, no doubt, it gets blurry. So, I don’t bother about trying to separate the line.
I just know what needs to be done for me to meet my objectives and key results and I work towards it.
If during the day I’m onto something else other than work, I redeem the work hours from my personal time. So, in that sense, I’m not cheating myself or the company.
Do you live/work alone? If you don’t, what’s your living condition like and how do you avoid/cope with distractions?
I stay with my family and our living conditions are pretty decent. There is power and Internet connectivity most of the time. Per distractions, everyone in my house is an adult who understands the place of work. So, we all either stay in our rooms or go downstairs to work. The only major ‘distraction’ is having to cook. Eating is a pleasant distraction, a very welcome one too.
How do you recharge or take a break?
I take walks in the evening. I play mobile video games, but I’ve been stuck on a level and I’ve not played in a while. I talk to friends (mostly via Twitter) and do video calls. That’s it, pretty much. Oh, on some weekends I watch Netflix with my babe.
What’s your biggest challenge with working from home and how are you trying to solve it?
Sometimes you want to zone in to finish a particular task you’ve defined. But a bit of noise here and there as well as, home errands, once in a while, for the parents, can be distracting. To solve that, I’d have to move out. So, for now, I’m coping with it.
What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to? What do you recommend?
Reading: Venture Deals by Brad Feld and Jason A. Mendelson. Listening to: Podcast episodes from Planet Money. Watching: The Big Short.
What one advice would you give someone trying to adapt to working from home?
In all thy gettings, stock up on food and snacks. Plus, pay attention to your “home office” ergonomics.
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
Daniel Iyanda, head of content and partnerships at Benjamindada.com. We work together, and I’m just really curious as to how he moves and gets stuff done.